Warning: this may be daunting

I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many literary characters and writers during this semester of Mosaics I. They have taken me on journeys I will not soon forget. Like anyone, these characters were flawed. They all had weaknesses. In a few cases like the Yellowbirds and Metamorphosis, the characters followed a path to self-destruction. In different variations, all of the characters, Gilgamesh, Candide, John Bartle created their own uphill battles.

Have you ever witnessed someone you know self-destruct? Have you ever seen someone that was once so full of life begin to lose who they are as a person? We are all self-destructing by nature. Everyone has insecurities. We doubt ourselves regularly. We doubt our abilities to perform certain tasks. We question our own knowledge. We do things, such as eat fatty foods or smoke cigarettes, knowing they can harm the body. We hardly ever forgive ourselves for our mistakes because they’re always in the back of our minds. We often blame ourselves for things that could not possibly be our fault. It almost sounds like we hate ourselves. Do we? There is no sense in making life harder than it already is by hating ourselves. It would be much easier for all of us to accept ourselves for who we are and the things that we’ve done. But, the possibility of individuals loving themselves entirely seems so far out of reach. We are all expected to conform to societal standards… whatever they may be. It is no wonder why all of us are slowly self-destructing. We hardly have any other choice.

Self destruction is like a wave. It consumes you entirely. It pushes and it pulls, gives and takes. It crashes down on you without much consent or control. It doesn't just effect you, it effects the fish, and the tide, and the coral reefs. It effects the land and sand. Waves change shapes and sizes. Similarly, personal self destruction effects everyone you know and love. It changes the things around you. Maybe you stop cleaning your room, maybe you stop calling your mom to check in on her. Self destruction is selfish.
This image appears to be of something magnificent, something seemingly beautiful. The animal (is it an animal?) looks graceful, even. The image details tells me this is a 4 headed monster. 4 brothers, actually, living in one body. How could a 'monster' be so eye catching and pretty. Gilgamesh was said to be "physically beautiful, immensely strong, and very wise." Yet, he had very monstrous behaviors about him. He terrorized his people and raped virgin wives-to-be. Despite all things beautiful about him, he was a true monster. His self-destructive path began when Enkidu died. Gilgamesh was fearful of his own death and desired to live forever. He set out on a journey that could've killed him in search for eternal life. Ultimately, he did not succeed and went back to his people empty handed, but with a new appreciation for his city. Gilgamesh's self-destrution was a good thing, given that his "self" in the beginning of the story was a monster. He transformed from a monster to a mortal.
Is it possible for us to blame all of our bad attributes on civilization and society? Can we simply blame the thought of conformity? Does the thought of living up to a certain societal standard cause our self destructive behaviors? Is that what causes our misery? Freud may think so. Maybe it is just us. Maybe it is just our own internal conflict reflecting all of our downfalls. Maybe we are all really just crazy in unique ways. We are all programmed differently, we function differently, we process differently. There is no such thing as conformity because there is no real "normal" to conform to.
“After bearing the consequences of a mistake, the person either becomes a better person or completely succumbs to the atrocity.” ― Ram Mohan John Bartle completely succumbed to the atrocity in the Yellowbirds. Instead of leaving all of the memories, sacrifices, tough decisions in Iraq, he brought them home with him. He let them eat him alive. He resorted to alcohol to help relieve himself from his own terrible thoughts. However, all the alcohol really did was prove he was weak. It proved he was acting as a coward would. John Bartle self destructed. He let the memory of his good friend's death destroy him. Though Dave Matthews song , Grace is Gone, is about a bad break-up, it fits the moral of my story. Sometimes it feels good to get out of your own head with a little bit of alcohol or some drugs... but it doesn't fix the problem. This is also the reason this piece of art work follows the one before it... because Freud believes that “Life as we find it is too hard for us; it entails too much pain, too many disappointments, impossible tasks. We cannot do without palliative remedies (14).”
It's tough to tell if the strip of light in the distant sigh is a glimmer of hope for the people below or if the sky is just going dark. It's quite possible that the darkness is being lifted. If you asked Candide or his philosophy teacher Pangloss they would both tell you it must be a glimmer of hope and the sky will soon be, once again, full of light. Candide was taught that this is the "best of all possible worlds" and believed that to be true with all of his being despite anything unfortunate that may have happened to him. All of the bad things that happened to Candide and Pangloss could have been the Karma of their beliefs. Or kind of higher power trying to prove them wrong... trying to let them now that there are some cases where things happen for the worst for no particular reason. This was their own way of self destructing.
The most important thing you can do in life is love yourself. If you can do that, you can do almost anything. You need faith in yourself to accomplish anything. In order to love yourself you need to forgive yourself. Confess your sins and accept them for what they are, because they make you who you are. Once you love yourself, the next step is to love the world. Accept the world for what it is, as well. It is encouraging to believe that all of the bad things in our world are balanced out by only good things. Perhaps we wouldn't self destruct so easily if we had a more positive outlook. How do we do that? We laugh. Laugh it off. The attached video, though inappropriate, is exactly the way I want to end this gallery. I want people to leave my page with a smile on their face despite all the bad things that may add a little destruction to our lives... and I love Bo Burnham.
Credits: All media
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